Book Mapping Presentation Handouts HERE  available to download as a PDF or keep reading:)

October 12, 2019 Cabell County Library

Sponsored by West Virginia Writers

©2019 Ferndean Press, LLC No part of this presentation or handouts may be reprinted or shared without the express permission from Tobi Doyle and/or Rebecca Barray


  • What is a book map?
    • A book map is an overview of a book, broken down scene by scene or chapter by chapter, usually in the form of a table.
  • When to do your book map?
    • After you’ve written your first draft and let it sit and marinate…
      • Get emotional distance from characters/scenes
    • Take off your creative writer hat and put on your ruthless editor hat
    • Book map BEFORE you give it to beta readers/editors/etc.
    • This is for YOU, after the first draft
  • Why Bother? You become your developmental editor
    You’re still going to need Beta Readers and Editors after these revisions

    • Allows you to study your plot, structure, pacing, and character development of your story as an OBJECTIVE editor
  • Filling out your book map
    • Summary of the chapter/scene
    • % into story (for beats/plotting/structure info)
    • Timeline
    • How do your characters develop?
    • Where does it take place?
    • What happens in the plot/s?
    • Does the scene reinforce the theme?
  • Summary of the chapter/scene
    • Tyler Rigby calls Charlie and asks her to check on Oscar, her tenant. She drives out to the cabin and finds him dead.
    • Goal - Check on Oscar.
    • Motivation - She cares for him like a son.
    • Conflict – Nobody has heard from Oscar and she’s worried.
  • Characters
    • Tyler: Oscar’s boss Tyler, shows Charlie doesn’t enjoy his personality. Revising this scene, Oscar will be missing for a few days and Tyler’s secretary will call instead.
    • Liz: 911 operator AND Charlie’s sister-in-law (again, small town)
    • Ray: un-met neighbor of Oscar, but she knows his backstory
    • Tom: local deputy, her kids’ old soccer coach,
    • EMTs: knows one from church
    • Charlie: maternal, is she overly caring or a busybody? change relationship with Oscar to “less like an adopted son” and more an ex-boyfriend of her kid’s who she wants to help out, but still maternal
    • Oscar: dead, her son Drew’s age and friend, funny, gay, diabetic
  • Plots/Themes
    • Plots: We’ve got a dead body… nailed the “mystery genre”
    • Themes: We choose our family – she’s taken Oscar into the fold – but revising the relationship between Charlie and Oscar
      • Ray is mentioned, and will become the annoying little brother Charlie never knew she needed.
      • Secondary theme – You never really know what someone else is thinking/wants/their true motivation.
      • Why didn’t Oscar call Charlie if he was feeling bad?
      • She thought she knew him, but does she?
    • Start with the big ideas!
      • Note any issues/concerns
      • Goals
      • Motivations
      • Conflicts
      • Plot moving forward
      • Story arc beats/pacing
      • Check character and emotional arcs
      • Scenes have their own checklist!
      • Start with the BIG ideas
      • Yes, you need to add visceral reactions and freshen up your clichés BUT that’s for a future round of revisions, after the STRUCTURE is ready for the paint, drapes, and carpets. J
    • What next? GENRE PROMISES!
      • Mystery genre promises: (These are reader expectations)
      • Guilty party must be “seen” in first part of book. (No surprise bad-guys)
      • Dead guy has to be unlikable–reader can’t feel too bad he’s dead
      • No new information gained after the third plot point
      • The problem and or solution can’t be magic/alien/unknown technology unless writing a paranormal/Sci Fi mystery and the world rules are established in Act 1
      • For amateur sleuth, the amateur sleuth MUST solve the mystery before the police
      • Two bodies are more fun than one, especially if the second body is the lead suspect
      • Detective/Sleuth shouldn’t be the bad guy
      • Chekov’s gun: If a gun is hanging on the wall in the first act, it must be used in the third act.
      • The bad guy must have a believable MOTIVE (Hero in his own story)
      • TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION – there should be no coincidences.
      • You have to give enough clues for the reader to figure it out
      • DO YOUR RESEARCH – Interview experts, ask experts to read sections
      • There are many more and I REALLY wish there was one place to find them, but this is why you MUST READ YOUR GENRE
      • Opening: 0-15%
      • Main characters introduced, world rules established, MC (Hero/heroine/protagonist) baseline – who they are in their world “before” the story
      • Inciting Incident: 10-15%
      • Protagonist’s world changes – normal world is upset
      • First Plot Point: 25% - End of Act One
      • Protagonist makes a decision to do something as a direct result of the inciting incident
      • First Pinch Point: 37.5%
      • Get an idea/hint of the antagonistic forces – something is working against the MC
      • Second Plot Point: 50% - MIDPOINT
      • Shift in protagonist’s perspective, their attitude changes from reactive to proactive!
      • Second Pinch Point: 62.5%
      • Another glimpse of antagonistic forces
      • Third Plot Point: 75% BEGIN THIRD ACT
      • Crisis – Devastating defeat
      • Dark Moment – protagonist feels that all is lost
      • CLIMAX
      • Protagonist has epiphany and can solve the problem
      • Big battle – showdown between protagonist and main antagonist
      • Resolution
      • Show how the MC’s life is different “after” the story
      • Opening: 0-15%
        • Main characters introduced, shown in their present world… NEED/WANT is shown. Have a tangible external goal. Reveal character’s wound, hint at misbelief. Shows who they are in their world “before” the story.
      • Inciting Incident: 10-15%
      • Protagonist’s world changes – normal world is upset
      • First Plot Point: 25% - End of Act One
      • Protagonist makes a decision to do something as a direct result of the inciting incident. We see who they could become if they healed their wound.
      • First Pinch Point: 37.5%
      • Antagonistic forces trigger misbeliefs about who they are and what they are capable of.
      • Second Plot Point: 50% - MIDPOINT
      • Protagonist sees who they could be. Must decide to not go back. (Change is hard)
      • Second Pinch Point: 62.5%
      • Wound hammered hard, proof of misbelief
      • Third Plot Point: 75% BEGIN THIRD ACT
      • Crisis – Must overcome misbelief
      • Dark Moment – protagonist feels that all is lost and can never change
      • CLIMAX
      • protagonist has epiphany and desire to change
      • Big battle – Confronts what is holding them back and accepts consequences
      • Resolution
      • Show how the MC is different “after” the story, has become their best self
    • Becca’s Beauty & the Beast Exercise
      • Common Fairy Tale Themes:
        • Good triumphs over evil
        • Love conquers all
      • Fairy Tale Genre Promises:
        • The story takes place in a distant or make-believe land.
        • It features imaginary/magical characters and elements.
        • A difficult problem is solved at the end of the story.
        • The story has a happy ending.
        • In addition:
        • Usually begins with “Once upon a time,” “Long ago,” or “Once there was a …”
        • Things often happen in threes and sevens.
        • Wishes are often granted.
        • Often includes royal characters and/or talking animals
      • Next comes scene level editing, which could/should be its own workshop!
      • Finding similar stories use
      • Resources and advice
        • There are a TON of contests out there that are free charge a nominal fee (under $50). Find one in your genre and be a judge and SUBMIT YOUR WIP!
        • Books:
          • Lisa Cron Story Genius
          • Save the Cat Writes a Novel (Save the Cat website has more beat sheets)
          • Syd Field on Screenwriting (Josh Malerman told me to read it)
          • SG Redlings recs:
            • Take Off Your Pants-Libbie Hawker
            • Johnny Shaw on Medium: Finding Your Voice and Going Too Far
          • Websites (
          • Intensive Genre Weekend presented by Michael Knost and Sheila Redling–Coming in March/April in HUNTINGTON!!!
          • Join Writing Groups – our local groups
            • West Virginia Writers – Patchwork Writers in Huntington
            • Cheshire Cats – Children’s Writing Group
            • Wicked Wordsmiths
            • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: @tobidoyle and @rebeccabarray

Genre handout courtesy of Julianne Tillis

These are VERY BRIEF and you definitely need to search for more information and READ YOUR GENRE.

ROMANCE – Tobi will be doing a quick guide to romance at Huntington’s Fiction Factory Arts Night Out Feb. 2020

  • The focus is on the relationship and any degree of intimacy from young love to sex romp.
  • Typically involve two characters and how they meet, interact, and eventually fall in love.
  • There can be a secondary plot, but the main focus is on the romantic relationship of the main characters.
  • Readers want to see that love is powerful and attainable. The story emphasizes finding love, recognizing love, and/or keeping love.
  • Problems are overcome by the power of love and ultimately the ending is a happy one. Although some romances may have an emotional ending, we are left knowing that the characters’ lives have been changed for the better by love.
  • SUBGENRES: inspirational, suspense, erotic, paranormal, contemporary, historical, regency
    • Tobi’s notes:
      • Characters should be likable and flawed.
      • 1st set of likable people are the “couple” (or triple, etc)
      • They are “stuck” together for some reason by the first pinch point.
      • Midpoint – glimpse they are perfect for each other IF they change.
      • Romancing the Beat by Gwen Hayes is a fabulous resource for the genre beats/arc.


  • The focus of a Horror story is on emotions. They are intended to frighten, disgust, or startle both the main character and the reader.
  • Involve a monster of psychological terror. The monster can be human; however, there should be an element to the character that makes them seem more monster than human (think slashers). There is most often supernatural element that distinguishes the story from that of a Suspense/Thriller (for example, the monster keeps coming back from the dead).
  • Horror is easily recognized by its dark tone, though the story doesn’t always start out that way.
  • Readers want a safe way to face their fears. In the end, the fear should either be conquered or shown to be not as frightening as originally thought.
  • SUBGENRES: monster, paranormal, killer, psychological, extreme



  • A mystery focuses on the discovery of the unknown. Typically, this involves a crime.
  • The mystery answers one of three questions – whodunit, howdunit, or whydunit
  • Main character is a detective – either professional or amateur
  • Writer must include clues to lead the main character (and the reader) towards solving the mystery.
  • Readers are most satisfied in a mystery when the answer cannot be easily guessed, but when revealed, seems inevitable.
  • The mystery MUST be solved at the end of the story. If it isn’t solved, then that’s not the end.
  • SUBGENRES: cozy, private eye, amateur sleuth, hard boiled, noir, caper, police procedural, historical
  • Tobi’s notes:
    • Guilty party must be “seen” in first part of book. (No surprise bad-guys)
    • Dead guy has to be unlikable–reader can’t feel too bad he’s dead
    • No new information gained after the third plot point
    • The problem and or solution can’t be magic/alien/unknown technology unless writing a paranormal/Sci Fi mystery and the world rules are established in Act 1
    • For amateur sleuth, the amateur sleuth MUST solve the mystery before the police
    • Two bodies are more fun than one, especially if the second body is the lead suspect
    • Detective/Sleuth shouldn’t be the bad guy
    • Chekov’s gun: If a gun is hanging on the wall in the first act, it must be used in the third act.
    • The bad guy must have a believable MOTIVE (Hero in his own story)



- While the focus of mysteries is on solving a crime that’s already taken place, thrillers are all about what might happen and what can be done to prevent a catastrophe.

- A main character (s) faces danger, usually right from the start, and continues to face more problems which are often the result of actions orchestrated by the antagonist.

- Fast paced and keep the reader guessing. Both your main character and your reader will feel some form of fear or anxiety.

- Something has to be prevented. There’s a ticking clock, and the consequences of not preventing the event could literally be world-changing.

- Main character isn’t typically a professional, but if he is, there’s usually a reason he can’t use his professional resources.

-SUBGENRES: political, historical, crime, psychological, legal, medical, supernatural, technological



  • Suspense and Thriller share many elements but are not exactly the same. Suspense is less action focused and instead centers on the anticipation. Danger may not be present right away, and instead, it builds along with the story.
  • A thriller typically has action scene after action scene after action scene. A suspense has action scenes, but it is a more steady build with high points of action along the way. The reader is most anticipatory of the BIG moment.
  • SUBGENRES: see Thriller



  • Science fiction focuses on possibilities that don’t exist yet but may in the future. Space and time travel, aliens, parallel worlds, steampunk, etc.
  • Centers around advancements in science and technology and their effects on humanity.
  • World building is often complex and detailed. Readers want to see new worlds and things they might never experience in real life.
  • While world building is important, it is important to remember the aspect that links your reader to this impossible situation – humanity. How did humanity get here? Can we set things right or fix what we did wrong? What is our relationship to this new world and other beings in it?
  • SUBGENRES: aliens, time travel, alternate history, parallel history, space opera, hard SF, soft SF, steampunk



  • Many people lump Sci-Fi and Fantasy together, but they are different. Fantasy focuses on things creatures or beings that don’t exist in our real world and/or includes magic or the supernatural.
  • Can be set in the real world or a fantasy world, but it must include either supernatural, paranormal, or magical elements. These elements play a major role in the story and often affect the setting, characters, and plot.
  • Readers are drawn to Fantasy stories that invite them to imagine new worlds or creatures.
  • One of the most common themes in fantasy teaches the reader how to get along with those who are different from themselves.
  • SUBGENRES: urban fiction, Arthurian, quest, medieval, Fairy Tales



  • Typically set in the American West of the late 19th century and include Western towns, frontier lawmen, and hard living.
  • Plots are typically centered on frontier justice. Conflict revolves around things like westward expansion, crime, lifestyle practices, or conflicting outlooks on the use of land.
  • Readers are looking for a major showdown and the endings are clear – we know who lives and dies in the end.
  • While there can be many subgenres of Western, the most recognizable is the Space Western (a combination of Sci-Fi and Western) set in space but heavy with Western elements like cowboys, bounty hunters, or good slingers.
  • There’s a clear distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. Readers want to see justice handed out at the hands of the protagonist.



  • Often considered the contrast to genre fiction, but worth noting as a genre itself.
  • Less about plot and action. Instead, they focus on a character’s emotions, growth, and concerns.
  • The pace is often slower and puts more emphasis on the journey of self-discovery.
  • Two major focuses – writing style and internal struggles
  • The purpose is to deliver the characters and the readers to an understanding of some sort of universal truth. They make us consider the connections between what we think and what we feel.



  • Distinct from romance.
  • Specifically, for women, feature a female protagonist, and don’t necessarily fall into one of the other categories.
  • Typically focus on issues rather than events like a woman experiencing divorce, disease, death, fertility issues, etc.
  • Can be serious or light hearted like chick-lit.
  • Focus stays on what the female character thinks and feels rather than external story events. The events are what trigger her insights and personal discoveries.
  • Tobi’s notes: Typically is multi-generational, family-oriented, past history creating conflict for future generations.



  • Written specifically for readers 12-18, but actual readers can be far older.
  • Include stories from any genre.
  • Protagonist is typically a teenager dealing with life altering events and find their way through a changing and unfamiliar world. Older characters may fall more into the New Adult genre, which is a relatively newer distinction in genres.
  • YA protagonists may seek others to help with their issues or they may allow embarrassment to drive them to solve their problems on their own.
  • The main character must make decisions that cause them to transition away from being a child and find their way into the larger, more adult world where they are less self-centered. Their eyes are opened to larger issues.



Beauty and the Beast – Disney Animated Version – Scene List by Rebecca Barray

PrologueStory of how the young, spoiled prince refused to help an ugly old beggar woman and she cursed him that he must find love and be loved by his 21st birthday or he’ll remain a beast.


1Belle walks to town, sad that it is so small, longing for more than her provincial life. The townspeople think she’s odd. She goes into the bookstore to exchange a borrowed book for another. Chooses her favorite one that she’s read three times already, and the owner gifts it to her. She sits by the fountain and reads.
2Gaston and Lafoo enter the village, Lafoo fawning, and Gaston declares that he will marry Belle, because she’s the most beautiful girl in town. Gaston takes Belle’s book, belittles her interest in reading, thinking, tries to impress her with his trophies, but she’s simply not interested, wants to get home to her father. He takes up for her when Lafoo makes fun of her father.
3Belle’s father is working on invention, smoke rolling out of the cellar, grumbling about his worthless invention. Belle reassures him and he gets back to work. She wonders that she’s odd, is lonely. He mentions Gaston’s interest in her, and she balks. He turns on the machine... and it works, automatically chopping wood. Belle cheers, tells him he’ll win first place for sure. He takes off for the fair with their horse, Phillipe.
4Maurice gets lost in the woods trying to take a shortcut through the creepy part of the forest. Phillipe gets spooked, throws Maurice and bolts. Maurice is chased by a back of wolves through the castle gates. Maurice enters the open castle, seeking refuge from the wolves and the storm for the night. Enchanted castle furnishings invite him to warm by fire. They are very friendly. Beast enters the room and rages at them all, throwing Maurice in the dungeon for trespassing.
5Gaston goes to Belle’s house, fully prepared to marry her on the spot. He walks in, showing no regard for Belle or her wishes, and she refuses him. He vows to have Belle for his wife. Belle balks at Gaston’s proposal, wants adventure, not the small provincial town life. Phillipe shows up with the cart, without Maurice. Belle is worried, unhooks the cart and rides on Phillipe to find her father.
6Phillipe takes Belle to the enchanted castle. She sees his hat on the grounds, and enters. The furnishings are still in a tither, but get excited when they see Belle wandering in search of Maurice. They lead Belle to Maurice in the dungeon. He tries to warn her away, but she won’t leave him. Beast arrives, loud and angry. Belle offers to take her father’s place. Beast accepts, whisking Maurice away to be taken home. Beast shows Belle to a more habitable room. She’s upset that she didn’t get to say goodbye to her father. Beast forbids her from entering the west wing of the castle, and demands that she join him for dinner.
7Gaston mopes over Belle’s refusal at the tavern. LaFoo kisses his ass and gets the whole bar to sing his praises until his spirits are lifted. Maurice barges into the tavern, begging for someone to help rescue Belle from the beast’s dungeon. Everyone laughs and throws him out into the snow. Gaston devises a plan to get Belle to marry him.
8The enchanted castle furnishings bring Belle tea. They are all very friendly. When Cogsworth announces that it’s time to walk to dinner, she refuses to go. Beast rages, then tries to be nice briefly, but when she still refuses, he confines her to her room, and forbids her to eat without him. Beast continues to rage in his room, looks at belle through the mirror and sees that she’s angry. He’s discouraged, thinks it’s useless to think that she could ever love him.
9Belle ventures from her room, wanders the castle exploring. The furnishings are cleaning up and lament that they’ll never break the curse if Beast doesn’t learn to control his temper. Belle enters the kitchen and is treated to dinner and a show by the furnishings.
10Belle wants to explore, gets Cogsworth and Lumiere to give her a tour. They let slip where the west wing is, and they almost distract her with the library, but her curiosity gets the best of her and she sneaks back to the west wing. It’s very rough, lots of stuff destroyed. It’s the Beast’s bedroom. Belle sees the enchanted rose tied to the curse and almost touches it. Beast stops her and—surprise!—rages.
11Belle runs away from the castle on Phillipe. It’s snowing and hard to see. She gets surrounded by a pack of wolves, nearly killed, but Beast steps in and protects her fighting off the wolves. He gets hurt. Belle takes him home and cleans him up. They argue/banter. Belle thanks Beast for rescuing her and finishes cleaning him up in ~companionable silence.
12Gaston meets with the director of the asylum. Bribes him to commit Maurice to the asylum unless Belle agrees to marry Gaston.  Maurice sets out to rescue Belle by himself right before they arrive to commit him. Finding the house empty, Gaston orders Lafoo to stand guard on the porch until they get back home.
13Belle wanders the grounds of the castle. Beast wants to do something nice for Belle. Surprises her with the library. She’s astounded, grasps Beast’s hand in thanks. Montage of Beast and Belle getting along, Beast becoming more gentle—refined, having dinner together, playing in the snow together, feeding the wildlife. The furnishings note that there may be something there that wasn’t there before.
14Beast prepares for a special evening with Belle. They are all dressed up and dance to tale as old as time. Belle says she’s happy there, but admits to missing her father. Beast shows her the mirror and how to check on her father. He’s sick, and lost in the woods. Beast releases her to go and help her father. Tells her to keep the mirror. She leaves. Beast admits to furnishings that he had to let her go, because he loves her.
15Belle races through the forest on Philippe, finds Maurice and takes him home. LaFoo goes to get Gaston. Belle explains to Maurice that the beast has changed. Chip stowed away in Belle’s bag. The director of the asylum arrives to collect Maurice. The villagers gather and mock Maurice’s craziness. Gaston offers to take care of it, get Maurice released...if she’ll marry him. She refuses, shows them that the beast is real with the mirror, and that he’s nice. Gaston sees that she cares for the beast, and turns the villagers against him, warning that the beast will kill them all. Gaston locks Belle and  Maurice in the cellar so they can’t warn the beast, then leads the torch and pitchfork mob to the castle to kill the beast.
16Back at the castle, the furnishings lament that Belle didn’t break the curse. See the mob coming. Beast says let them come, defeated. The furnishings defend the castle. Chip uses the log cutter to break Belle and Maurice out of the cellar. Battle continues until villagers flee. Gaston finds the Beast, shoots him with an arrow. He doesn’t fight back because he believes that he’s lost Belle.
17Belle arrives at the castle to stop Gaston. Gaston taunts Beast that Belle could never love him and says Belle belongs to him. Beast now fights back to get to Belle. Could kill Gaston, but shows mercy. Beast turns to go to Belle and Gaston stabs him in the back just as he gets there, losing his balance and falling to his death. Belle grabs the injured Beast and holds him as he dies.
18Lights shine from Beast’s body, and he is transformed back to human. He kisses Belle and the dark scary castle and the furnishings are returned to their former glory. Cogsworth and Lumiere argue over who knew from the beginning that she would break the curse. Adam and Belle are having a ball at the castle and everything is wonderful.